Sometimes creating recipes is like dating. You have to know when to hold ’em and when to fold ’em. I recently broke up with a chopped broccoli dish because we had no chemistry. It just wasn’t happening. I might have been depressed if not for another broccoli suitor that swept me off my feet. This guy—well, as mom likes to say, he cleans up nice. Maybe it’s the company he keeps as well; surrounding himself with fresh basil, red bell peppers, a little lemon . . . they’re a sprightly crowd, fun to hang with, and healthy, too, full of anti-inflammatories and other anticancer properties.
This recipe is bold and pretty enough that it could be served in a Mexican restaurant, especially when made into tacos or tostadas, as in the variation. Halibut is rich in beneficial omega-3s; plus, it has a meaty texture and mild flavor, which makes it great for kids or anyone who’s a little leery of fish. The marinade contains lime zest, cumin, cilantro, and cayenne, bathing the halibut in a sea of yum, and the Papaya and Avocado Salsa provides a tasty crescendo.
You can learn a lot sitting on the tailgate of a pickup truck. That’s where my buddy Chris, from Zuckerman’s Farm, used to sit me down and teach me about all things asparagus. Chris worked hard—awfully hard—as a farmer. He was true salt of the earth, and as generous as they come. Normally, there’s an invisible line: farmers behind their wares and buyers on the other side, but Chris always insisted I “step into his parlor.” Both of us were always so excited when the first asparagus of the season showed up. He’d put aside a bunch for me, and then we’d both hop up on that tailgate and talk—about recipes, how amazingly nutritious asparagus is, and, a lot of the time, about life and family. Chris passed away not long ago, and I felt the best way I could honor him was to create a recipe featuring his favorite veggie. I think he would have enjoyed this, and I hope you will too.
This beautiful salad represents a harmonic convergence of tastes. The spiciness of some of the greens in a spring mix is balanced by the avocado’s creamy, healthy fat, while the sweetness of the roasted beets cuts the acidic nature of the citrus dressing.If the beets vary in size, wrap them accordingly so you can remove the package of smaller ones when tender, leaving the larger ones in the oven until they are tender.
There are so many delightful flavors melded in the broth of this dish that your taste buds will be surprised and tickled. While the coconut broth puts this dish in the “cozy” food category, the infusion of ginger, lemongrass, and kaffir lime leaves adds an exotic twist. The fun part of this dish is watching the broth evolve to a pinkish hue as it cooks. That’s the time to inhale deeply, taking in the aromatics. In a few minutes, you’ve gone from simple stock and coconut milk to a delicately balanced silky broth. That’s the magic!